Brazil will be counting on the dazzling skills of women’s footballing superstar Marta to finally shake off their perennial bridesmaids tag at the FIFA Women’s World Cup which gets underway in Germany next Saturday.
The Brazilian men’s team are the most successful in FIFA World Cup history with five titles, but despite boasting star players such as Marta and Cristiane their countrywomen have consistently failed to live up to their potential.
The five-time South American champions’ best result has been a runner-up spot in China four years ago behind Germany, and they also settled for second on the podium behind the United States at the past two Olympics.
Despite the failure to bring home the silverware the popularity of the women’s game has been growing in Brazil largely thanks to Marta’s individual achievements and her record five World Player of the Year awards. And the 25-year-old insists they have to seize their chance this time.
“We really want to win it, it’s a title that we’ve had in our hands in the past but didn’t win because of small details,” said Marta, who plays for Women’s Professional Soccer’s Western New York Flash.
“For a long time now, we have shown we have a wealth of talent in our ranks. We’ve reached two Olympic finals and one World Cup final. Now, the time has come to win a title.”
Marta’s less heralded strike partner Cristiane also warned that nothing less than the trophy would do this time. “For the sake of Brazilian women’s football over the next few years, we simply can’t afford to go backwards. Now it’s time for us to win it,” she said.
Brazil open their campaign against Asian champions Australia on 29 June in Moenchengladbach in Group D which also includes 1995 FIFA World Cup winners Norway and debutants Equatorial Guinea. Though Norway were world champions in 1995 and Olympic gold medalists in 2000, Brazil boast the better record in recent years and are group favourites.